Crafar Farms went into receivership in October 2009 – owing some $200 million to Westpac, Rabobank and PGG Wrightson Finance – and, by all accounts, were poorly managed financially and physically. Using his existing land as leverage, Allan Crafar was rapidly expanding his holdings at a time when the recession was biting and when Fonterra had dropped the prices it was paying for milk, sending the Crafars into receivership. On top of the massive fines levied for pollution and animal mistreatment, one could guess things were going to end badly no matter what happened.
But, nonetheless, the banks took the land and – as the new landowners – sought their own buyer. The banks are merely trying to plug the holes in their books – as Allan Crafar was doing with his. So they looked around and found a Chinese buyer willing to pay the price. The Overseas Investment Office then gave approval to proceed and, on that advice, the Government rubberstamped it.
Tenants in our own land!
Selling out NZ to the highest bidder!
Selling our children’s future
All the money will be funnelled offshore!
Shame on you Prime Minister!
The fact still stands, however, that this is a private sale – it is no more “our land” than it was when Allan Crafar owned it. Not only that, but the cries of selling out New Zealand ring hollow when you consider that it currently isn’t New Zealand-owned land. Rather, it is owned by Australian receivers – leaving the Government in the unenviable position of having to sign the whole thing off without actually have any title to the land.
Some suggest rejecting the Chinese bid and instead considering one from the consortium headed by Sir Michael Fay. Fay presided as a ’consultant‘ during the biggest stock market crash in New Zealand history; sold New Zealand assets in the 1980’s and 1990’s to enrich himself and his cronies; was twice investigated for insider trading; was fined $20 million for dodgy dealings; and currently lives in Switzerland while his New Zealand companies siphon all their money overseas. Fay’s bid is $30 million less than the Chinese bid and some people realise he would buy it, sell it to the Chinese at a lower price than the receivers have asked, and keep the profits offshore for his own enrichment. Yet these same people think Fay is the better option – which plays directly into the hands of the biggest
Another suggestion is that the Government reject the deal outright and either direct the receivers only sell to a